Leeds Chiefs v Sheffield Steeldogs - Ben Morgan out to end points drought as Chiefs lose out at Telford Tigers

BEN MORGAN has experienced two successive pointless weekends with Sheffield Steeldogs and is keen not to make it three in a row when his team heads to Blackburn today to face Leeds Chiefs for the second time in 10 days.

Sunday, 3rd November 2019, 6:45 am
WE MEET AGAIN: Leeds Chiefs' Andres Kopstals and Sheffield Steeldogs' Alex Graham come face-to-face once again at Blackburn on Sunday. Picture: Bruce Rollinson.

The last time the two met, the Chiefs emerged 3-2 winners at Ice Sheffield on the back of an inspired goaltending performance from Sam Gospel, who turned away 54 of 56 shots.

A 6-3 defeat at the same venue to Telford Tigers 48 hours later means the Steeldogs go into their latest all-Yorkshire clash on the back of four straight defeats.

The frustrating run has seen Morgan’s team drop to fifth in the early-season NIHL National standings.

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Sheffield Steeldogs' Ben Morgan. Picture courtesy of Cerys Molloy.

Leeds, who followed up their win in Sheffield with a 6-4 win at Milton Keynes Lightning two days later, can close the gap between on Steeldogs to just three points with victory on Sunday, although they will come into the game a little stung themselves aftr a 5-3 defeat at Telford, who remain second to Swindon Wildcats by just one point, the leaders remaining the team to catch after a 5-2 win at home to Raiders IHC

“Leeds will be confident after last weekend,” said player-coach Morgan.

“Even though it will be a bit strange for them classing this one as a ‘home’ game in Blackburn, they will be even more determined to win because it is their first time hosting a match.

“But we need to try and make sure we stop that run for them and get back to winning ways because we’ve only got one game this time out and we need to make sure it is not three weekends without any points.

“But with Blackburn having the big ice, it is a rink which should suit our style of play - we’re looking forward to it.”

At Telford, the Chiefs found themselves 3-2 ahead at the end of the first period, Andre Kopstals continuing his rich vein of goalscoring form with a power play goal in the 12th minute to cancel out Dominik Florian's fifth-minute opener.

Daniel Mitchell restored the home team's lead at 13.43, but Radek Meidl's seventh of the season at 14.22 was followed just 22 seconds later by Steven Moore's third.

Thomas McKinnon quickly restored parity early in the second, but that was how it stayed until, with just under three minutes remaining and with the Chiefs' Luke Boothroyd and James Archer in the penalty box, Telford's Scott McKenzie scored what proved the game-winning goal.

Andrew McKinney ensured there was to be no comeback when he made it 5-3 with just 95 seconds left on the clock.

Ahead of Sunday's Yorkshire derby, Zajac said: "Obviously we want to be entertaining and put on a show for the fans, but if we need to play a road-type game to win, then that is what we’re going to do.

"It’s going to be a strange one for Sheffield too, playing at what is kind of a neutral venue, hopefully we’ll see a lot of fans from both teams."